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A very eye-catching wine label and a delightful wine to drink as well. This was brought over by our friend Jennifer from one of our local wine shops: The Wine Boutique in Ringsend, Dublin.

Being from Rueda in central Spain this wine is dominated by Verdejo, but interestingly it also has some Albillo,  a little known grape. Albillo has very little flavour characteristics, but has been cleverly used by the winemaker because it is quite glycerous and smooths acidity in wines. Because Verdejo is fresh, aromatic and typically acidic this is a clever trick and has worked very well as the wine is fresh, fruity and smooth, so very easy to drink.

Well recommended by Jen and well enjoyed by all – worth checking out and great value at €11.00

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We opened this as a a birthday on a week night treat. We wanted bubbles, but also liked the idea of lower alcohol, and it hit the spot very nicely!

Antech, Doux Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale NV (£8.95 form the Wine Society, UK)

This wine is a bit of a throw back and is made in a more rustic way than the sophisticated Champagne method. The grapes are grown to extra ripeness and partially fermented to about 5% alcohol. The wine is then transferred to bottle where it ferments a little more, giving the fizz. Made from Mauzac, the result is an apple pie of a wine; in fact we’re going to serve an apple pie or tarte tatin next time we open a bottle! It has a real creaminess with soft and mouth-filling bubbles. Though not completely elegant and sophisticated this nonetheless oozes charm and playfulness. The flavours are dominated by apples, but we also got rich double cream, poached pears and a touch of quince plus hints of caramelisation (like you get when cooking a tarte tatin). Delicious!

In contrast to Champagne and many traditional sparkling wines this has bags of fruitiness. It is comparable with the very fruity Moscato d’Asti, which like this has naturally low alcohol. The Blanquette however has a good dollop of acidity, which comes from the Mauzac grape, to make it all the more refreshing and attractive.

Jono

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Harvey Nichols, Plan de Dieu, Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2008 €14.95

We had actually tried another Cotes du Rhone Villages from a different wine shop (which will remain nameless as we’re in the business of recommending not slating wines) and it wasn’t good enough to have as our wine of week. To be fair though it too was a 2008, which wasn’t a great vintage in the Rhone, with poor weather (rain and hail storms) in July and August.

This wine was a bit lighter in colour than you would expect for a southern Rhone red which probably also reflects the difficult vintage. More importantly though there was plenty of red berry and black pepper aromas with a slight herbal note.  A perfect wine for uncomplicated food; try it with steak, sausages or stew.

Well done Kelly in Harvey Nichols wine shop in Dundrum who suggested we try it.

Julie

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